I awoke early Sunday morning with a toothache, not an irritating pain but a full blown, knock you down pain marathon. Waiting for sunrise it was just me, a lot of throbbing pain and my bottle of aspirins. Debating whether it would hurt less to reach in with a pair of properly sanitized vice grips and jerk the offending tooth out or find a dentist right away; finding a dentist on a Sunday in the Philippines is a kin to finding an honest man in Washington DC. No such luck.
I went to breakfast with the family and suffered in silence, hoping that Sit-N’-Bull served bowls of soft gruel or oatmeal but no such luck. I settled for Eggs over easy and corned beef hash which did go down with some ease. The family never noticed the pain I was in as I’m such a trooper. Don’t believe that for a second, I was whining like my grandson when you won’t get him that new toy. So for the rest of the day my aspirins and I toughed it out, well as tough as a wimpy old guy with a toothache can do.
Now Monday morning I’m on my way to my dentist, who opens at sometimes 10:00 (AM) and is sometimes late. But with the Luck of the Irish perched on my shoulder he (and she) were both present. Praise all that is holy, and may God bless the Philippines.
As I approached the reception desk I informed the young lady that I was there for my 10:00 (AM) appointment. She studiously perused her appointment book, with a look of confusion and some minor head scratching trying vainly to find my name. But because I’m the nice guy that always talks to them when I come in, she did not question me. Kuya Paul, wait one minute… And true to her word I was in the dentist chair in 45 seconds.
Now my guilt overcame me and I admitted to both her and the dentist that I had pulled a ruse on them as I was in such pain. Believe it or not, they all laughed. But were they laughing at me?
The Dentist: Kuya Paul, are you on any medication? I answered; Yes Doctor I take a pill every day for my high blood pressure. Hmmm was his reply, then a stream of Tagalog to his assistant and out came the sphygmomanometer and my blood pressure was 160 over 100. “Kuya Paul, there is nothing I can do with your blood pressure that high.”
Remain calm Paul; you need this guy far more than he needs you at this particular time. Shift to Hyper Logic mode “Yes Doctor it is high but then I do have a toothache and am wracked with pain, would that cause a spike in my blood pressure?” I asked politely. The x-ray machine came out and a photo of the offending tooth was snapped. Hmmm Kuya, it’s infected and there is nothing we can do until the infection is gone. Ah the old “Catch 22”
A prescription for Anti-Biotics was issued and off to Mercury Drugs I went, after a real appointment was given for four days later. This pleased the receptionist who scribed my name in her book and smiled knowingly that I had tricked her once and didn’t get to Bulaga her twice.
The following day, on Tuesday the pain had weakened to an acceptable level, as the pills were doing their job; well they were from Mercury Drugs weren’t they?
Thursday I got to my appointment 30 minutes early, the reason for that was to relax and allow my blood pressure to settle down, after all I drove there and tried to find a parking space.
Since the young girl with the sphygmomanometer was a tad slow gleaning the readings I brought my electronic blood pressure machine which looks like a really huge Casio watch, but sitting waiting I could push the button until I got a reading that satisfied the doctor that I would not expire while under his care. My wife Mayang took her reading and it was low enough to get me into the dentist’s chair, Would I do that? No I got a good reading on my own, in the chair, a blast of Lidocaine, a twist a pull a tug and one more twist and the offending tooth was history. Mind you I’m still wearing my Casio Blood Pressure watch and with the last push of the button, the reading was the best it had been all day. I told him that the pain was causing the high readings, but no one listens to Paul.
My dental goal is to remove the last of the old teeth that are not what they were 10 years ago and replace them with partials both upper and lower steak chewing machines., I’m talking about Texas Joe’s with a large order of Baby Back Ribs and gnawing them to the bone. So what you might ask is really odd? The strong desire, to enjoy the food I like once more including Corn-on-the-Cob. I think not!